When you are charged with a crime, there are several things that will happen. First of all, you will be brought into custody. After you are booked, you will be fingerprinted and the officers will take photos. Soon after this, you will have a hearing before a judge where you will be given the choice to select an attorney to defend you. If you cannot afford to hire a private criminal lawyer, you will be appointed one by the court. If at all possible, try to hire a criminal lawyer to represent you as court appointed attorneys are generally stretched thin between dozens of cases and cannot devote a lot of time or attention to any one in particular.
Hiring a private criminal lawyer is not always easy, but with a little hard work, it can be done. If you are released on bail, you can take care of this process independently, but if you remain incarcerated, you might need to enlist some help from friends and family to find a great attorney to help you. They can start by looking up local law firms and contacting them to request a consultation with a criminal lawyer. Most attorneys will offer to meet you for free to assess your situation.
Once you have met with a potential criminal attorney, you will have to decide if you want to move forward. Choose an attorney that is a good fit for you. You will need someone you can get along well with and someone who is experienced in criminal defense. Be sure to ask about the criminal attorney’s past record and hire someone who has been successful in the past. Ask the attorney a lot of questions so you can get a good idea of his or her previous experience. How many jury trials has the attorney been involved in? How many cases did he win in the past year? How often does he work out plea bargains or negotiate a reduced charge? These are all important things to ask in the beginning to help you find the right criminal lawyer for you.
After you decide which criminal lawyer you want to work with, move forward to the next step. You will probably need to pay the lawyer a retainer fee, which is the upfront cost to hire an attorney. This can vary significantly, but don’t be afraid to ask about it upfront. You can also ask if there are payment options that can help with this fee to make it more manageable for you and your family.
Keep in mind that your criminal lawyer will carry a lot of weight in determining your future. Choose the attorney carefully and you won’t regret it!